The image that makes me think of snakes and danger.

Do you remember the first time your child was face to face with a water moccasin? I do.  And while I was too busy scooping him up and rushing him away to photograph the snake, this image brings back all of the sights and smells and sounds of that late afternoon in September.  We were out walking near the Lake.  It was called Town Lake back then but now it's called LadyBird Lake, after the late LadyBird Johnson, the wife of former president, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

It was a Sunday afternoon and we were on the docks of the Austin Rowing center.  Everyone else had long since gone home.  Ben was trawling the waters with a stick he'd found on the trail.  Boy+Water+Stick= Big Fun.

I was on the far end of the dock when it happened.  Ben was in the middle of the dock. At the very opposite end from me a big, mean looking water moccasin (cottonmouth) lazily slithered out of the water and started doing his snake locomotion toward Ben.  Uncoiled, the snake was easily six feet long.  I ran to scoop up Ben and move him out of danger.  At the same time a blur entered the scene from the land to one side.  It was a large black dog.  It ran straight for the snake, barking furiously.    It's owner was running up behind it.  I had Ben in my arms and I was moving off the boat docks.

The snake took a look at the dog and gave it a,  "I could take you if I wanted to...." sort of look and then slid back into the water.  I love the idea of that dog.  The dog as protector.  The dog's owner called him over and they continued to run around the lake as though nothing important had happened.  I'll never forget that dog......

I was too into the "parent moment" to step back and record the process.  And I hope if you find yourself in a similar situation you'll make the same choice.   But every time I see this image the whole adrenalized memory comes rushing back.

The power of the photographic still is to translate a whole afternoon into one inch by one and a half inches of transparent film.

1 comment:

The Photophile said...

I'm the fool who would get my kid out the way of the business end and then catch the snack (alive) and show him what it looks like. I used to collect snakes for a hobby.